Yesterday was a very long day. In anticipation of the testing at 9:30am, and because I heard about it so late, I slept very little and set two alarms. I rose at 6:30, got ready, donned the suit. Made it in time and arrived at the place. When I arrived the man at reception – or maybe it wasn’t strictly a “reception” area, because he was not very receptive – gave me a form to fill out. It is my habit now to ask if I can “freshen” up when I arrive at offices. That little term never had so much meaning as it does to me now because I indeed feel like a wilted or wrung out flower that needs to freshen. I was positively schvitzing!

After filling out the paperwork and attaching my resume (which, Thank God the agency told me to do because no one asked), I sat down to wait. I was a relatively long wait, but finally a nice woman named Monica came and offered me water (I’d observed the “reception” man get his own water from a machine just behind me several times while I sat waiting, never offering me any) which I took gratefully. She then set me up in an educational room at a computer. She told me the testing would be five hours. I was told two. Then she said it took as long as it takes.

The test was this: There was a four page document of legal stuff and I was to recreate it from unformatted text. Easy Peasy. It had tables, and sections, page numbering, and a Table of Contents, and styles. Hardest was eyeballing the font size and margins and trying to make everything wrap the same way. That took about an hour.

Next there was a recreation in PowerPoint, Exel, and Visio. She told me I only had to do two of the three. PowerPoint, no problem It was a three page document. The only thing I couldn’t do was make the page numbers start on 1 on the second page. Everything else was easy. Then the Excel. I usually do tables and data in excel, I’ve never really done charts, and that’s what this was – recreate the chart from stated data. Well. I made A chart. I couldn’t get it to look just like theirs, though, so I did that and went on to Visio. I haven’t been on Visio since it’s inception, but it was just an org chart. It really wasn’t that difficult, I’ve made org charts in PowerPoint scores of times. Unless I’m missing some sort of layering issue, I think I did good.

I told her I was done about three hours after I started. As I was packing up my stuff, though, I looked at the front page of the test – I hadn’t really looked before, as she’d just said: recreate the Word doc. There was more explicit instructions about not using paragraphs, and using styles. So, even though I think I did well, maybe I missed something? I’m sure I did leave a paragraph mark or two…? Hmm? The night is for second-guessing.

I was off to my 2pm appointment scheduled before this testing thing came about at Daybreak Staffing. We were meeting to “discuss options” because the one place they had wanted to send me was already taken by the previous agency I’d met with. And was, in fact, the place I was testing that morning. So, I met Stephanie! She was wonderful and very encouraging. She sends clients to this place (that I tested) all the time and she kept saying “you’re going to get this job!” “They’d be foolish not to take you!” So, very heartening. Knock wood. She also told me I should ask for $90K! OMG! Maybe $88K. Depending if I am working overnights. Still. It was very encouraging. She gave me a little history of word processing in the city – after I left in 1999 places started outsourcing, which explains why some advertisement’s rates are so much lower, but now they are building up again. I got the same info in Chicago last month – places are building up their centers for the first time in 20 years. They like the personal in-house touch. She also told me that those of us WP operator trained in Financial were better trained than those in Legal, but it was all Legal hiring now. So, that’s good, because my background is in Financial. Anyway, it was a nice chat and she seemed really taken with my personality, resume and attitude and that’s what I’m selling right now. Of course, she loved the story of how Vincent has sent me here to be happy (who wouldn’t?). And I’m really hoping from her mouth to God’s ears! In any case I should hear by Monday.

I had dinner with my lovely friend Arlene, who taught me the high standards of word processing and is now a librarian at the Lincoln Dance library. It was so good to talk. It’s amazing how every friend I meet in New York feels like no time lost, but experience gained. I know good friends are like that, you pick up where you left off, but at this age there’s so much that’s happened, it’s on our faces, and in our hearts and so the sharing is so much more valuable.

Today I had lunch with a Kalamazoo friend, Bridin. I met her at 721 Broadway – which is where I used to go to school. It has changed so much. I was trying to layer my memory over the actual lobby. Very weird. We went to Dojo! A place I remember having lunch with Shaz Bennet 25 years ago, so some things don’t change.

After lunch I went to Kmart and [Angels sing] the end of my quests! I found a lounge dress so light (and cheap) I don’t need to run the air conditioner 24/7. I found a lampshade that’s so—Well. Um. When I took the lampshade out of the bag and reached for the lamp it was meant to fix – I dropped it. And it’s broken. And now I have a lampshade with no lamp. So. Progress?

My next quest is for a lamp!!!!

Observations in NYC: When I arrived home last night around 9:00pm, I got off the subway on the corner there were three men dressed like the three kings – the one’s that visit the baby Jesus? They had clipboards, but no interest in me. Nation of Islam? I mean they had gold tunics, crowns, everything, but also street clothes underneath.

Today as I approached the Kmart at Astor Place there were young men doing something on the corner. One of them congratulated me on my monochromatic olive green look I was sporting. I told him it matched my eyes, but we had fun discussing it. He didn’t try to solicit so I asked him what he was doing – he had an Oxfam t-shirt on. They were getting people to donate .85 cents a day to help with clean water in Syria. He had a table to swipe credit cards. I told him I wasn’t comfortable doing credit cards on the street, although I totally believed him, but that I would do it on my computer when I got home. He was very nice, and we shook hands. Another NYC moment.

Everywhere I go the World Cup is playing on TV or radios, behind the fruit stands on the sidewalks. GOOOOOAL resonates around the neighborhoods. It all lends to the international feeling of NYC. Oh. And I guess there was some sort of baseball game yesterday as well, I saw a lot of cops around.

Have I told you about eye-bras? Tuesday, when I found the REAL Bed Bath and Beyond I found eye-bras. Now, you know what an eyeshade is, and I bought one at the dollar store, but an eye-bra has actual cups for your eyes, so there is no pressure on them while you’re sleeping. I finally slept with on last night and it was glorious. (Warning, do not go into a store and ask for eye bras as that is my name for them, not the trademark.)

I rode trains and routes I’ve never done in all my time in NYC. Tomorrow I am free for anything. We’ll see. I’m thinking about seeing a movie at AMC. Oh. Last thing. When I arrived home, I had a voicemail from a theatre teaching job I’d applied for April 30th. It’s in Arizona. They want me to do a teaching demo via Skype. Hmm.

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